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What Is Service Submission and Service Orientation?


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Service gets pretty limited exposure when it comes to the majority of popular media and porn. Most of the time, you have someone prancing around in a french maid outfit, acting like a duster is an overly complicated piece of equipment that is simply impossible to use. The top comes into view, stops the service, and either goes for punishment then fucking or just fucking. There’s certainly no problem with that, but when it’s pretty much the only service orientation exposure you get on a frequent basis, it limits popular knowledge of everything that service orientation encompasses.

So, forget the french maid outfit, forget the part where it always ends in punishment, humiliation, or sex. Also, forget the part where providing service is the sole realm of submissives and bottoms. I’m here to talk about the basic concept of service orientation, real-life ways that I and others perform service, and some pointers on what service orientated people get out of acts of service.

What Is Service Orientation?

I use the term service orientation or service orientated much more frequently than service submissive. While my personal experience does come from being a submissive who incorporates my service side into my submission, that does not mean only submissives are service orientated. (As a disclaimer, whenever I am referring to personal anecdotes about my own service experiences, I will use language that denotes the power exchange established between myself and my captain. For general service orientation information, I strive to keep my language as gender-neutral and power-neutral as possible.)

I know service orientated bottoms, dominants, tops, and those who don’t identify as any particular label in the kink world, so service is not only reserved for submissives and slaves. What draws us all together is the feeling of fulfillment that comes from doing something for the person receiving service, that this person requested. This fulfillment may take the form of emotional fulfillment or sexual arousal and satisfaction on the part of the service orientated person.

What Does Service Look Like?

The actual form that service takes depends on what the service orientated person can do and what the service receiver would like. It’s important to note that a big part of service is giving the receiver what they request, in the way they prefer it, compared to the way the service provider would do it personally. Some receivers don’t mind how an act of service is accomplished, as long as the method completes the task to their specified parameters. Pretty much anything could be done as an act of service, and most of the time it comes down to context and execution method. There’s a lot of flexibility in service dynamic styles, so let me give you a real life example from my personal experience.

Some of the services that I provide for my captain include cooking, cleaning, meal planning, personal assistant/business services, fetching drinks, post-scene clean-ups, house organization, cigar service, product and general research, and computer maintenance. I tend to be a jack of all trades style of service provider, picking up skills that are needed the most and specializing in a few base skillsets such as business services and cooking. It’s sometimes hard to draw the line exactly where something is a service to the captain as opposed to me doing something nice for my partner. There’s no hard and fast line for that, but generally, it comes down to whether or not I’m prioritizing this task over other things that I’m doing, and am I doing it exactly the way the captain prefers.

What Do Service Orientated People Get Out of Service?

My personal motivation for service is the fulfillment that comes from making my captain’s life happier, easier, better, and more fulfilling. My service goals are to take care of the background things that I can, that I also personally enjoy so that he has the opportunity to relax and recharge and distress. For me personally, service is a way of expressing affection and care for my captain. I’ve always been the type of partner who has shown affection through actions and deeds, but the problem I kept encountering in vanilla relationships was that these offerings were taken for granted, not reciprocated in some way, and generally made me feel not so great about giving of myself due to an unbalanced exchange. Service dynamics have given me a way to utilize my natural proclivities for service and creates a natural context (in my case, power exchange) where the service is acknowledged, honored, and is an important part of the energy and power exchange.

Are there some people who perform selfless acts of service out there? Sure, there are, but for the most part, the service orientated person is getting some sort of exchange for their acts of service. Here are a few things that service orientated people may get in exchange for service.

  • Play for service
  • Service as part of a power exchange dynamic
  • Service as a kink (sexual arousal/play)
  • Room and board
  • Free admission to parties, conferences, conventions, events, etc from service to the community

One of the most important realizations of being a service orientated person is to always recognize what you need personally in order to be fulfilled as a service person. Outside of service to the community, I limit my lifestyle service submissive side to the person I’m in a D/s relationship with, which also addresses my physical and emotional needs in exchange for service. It may take some time to get service experience to completely understand what works best for you personally, but you always want to make sure that the service exchange remains an EXCHANGE of some sort, and not one person getting all of the benefit and the service provider feeling resentful, taken for granted, or unfulfilled. Just like negotiating a scene, negotiating a service scene or dynamic requires finding the middle ground where two (or more) people agree upon and consent to all of the activities involved. I’ll talk more about how I and others have handled service negotiations in future posts. Feel free to comment below with any questions, comments, or service experiences of your own!

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Tilari has been involved in the BDSM scene for 3 years, after being directed away from the Internet cesspit of OKCupid when she found herself single after an 8-year vanilla monogamous relationship. She has walked a pathway that was far beyond her wildest dreams, filled with loyal friends, incredible partners, and dedication to lifestyle submission, particularly of the service variety. Find more of her service writings at
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